Given that White Center, Boulevard Park and surrounding areas are governed directly by King County, the choice of King County Executive should be taken very seriously. The two candidates are Susan Hutchison and Dow Constantine. Constantine is a fixture of West Seattle and White Center politics, so he is a known commodity. Not so, Susan Hutchison, who hails from the East Side of the County. Candidate Hutchison has run a “feel good” campaign, emphasizing her position to “bring people together.” Her website’s issues page contains four short paragraphs, with the following priorities:
Jobs & the Economy:
Susan will help give small businesses the tools they need to create jobs…
Susan will quickly implement simple changes to encourage transit ridership…
Susan will identify waste and restructure the budget to ensure our tax dollars are being spent effectively.
Protect Our Environment.
Susan will forge partnerships between environmental, labor and business groups as we work toward our common goal…
That’s it folks, Susan Hutchison’s platform for managing one of the biggest governmental entities in the country. In her defense, it might be said that she is offering as much detail as the two lightweights who are currently vying to be Seattle’s next mayor. But then, that’s not much of a complement.
I will forthrightly state that I do not like Ms. Hutchison’s right-wing politics and that on that basis alone, she should be disqualified for the position. Seattle and King County residents are a tolerant, liberal community. To have a George Bush conservative speaking for us, just does not sit well. But what about her competence?
Ms. Hutchison has never held public office. She has never had to struggle with the political realities of governing a complex political entity whose ambits include not only roads and sewers but social services, neighborhoods and law enforcement. It is difficult to see how her experience on the board of the Seattle Symphony prepared her, in the slightest way, for such a weighty role.
I often disagreed with former King County Executive, Ron Sims, but I found him thoughtful, intelligent and most importantly, quite knowledgeable on any issue relating to his role as Executive of the very large and expansive King County. On the issue of affordable housing, we know nothing as to where Hutchison stands? Does she support the Greenbridge and High Point housing/community developments? If so, on what basis? If not, why not? Where does she stand on the issue of incorporation which raises the hackles of so many of White Center’s residents?
And what of her experience dealing with communities of color or economically distressed areas? How does her “bringing people together” chirp really address the many challenges that White Center faces? The fact is, nothing in her background begins to give her a serious understanding of White Center or similar communities. There is no on-the-job training for such issues. And Ms. Hutchison has given no indication that she even remotely cares about such issues. In the end, Hutchison is what she was in her prior role as newscaster, a pretty face with a vacuous resume.